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Challenges in digital age on the rise, says report

By OUYANG SHIJIA | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-12-30 19:12

A visitor (right) tries metaverse games at the 2021 International Digital Technology Exhibition and Tianyi Intelligent Ecological Expo in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Nov 11. [Photo by Li Zhihao/For China Daily]

There should be more efforts to deal with the rising challenges brought about by the digital age, a new report said.

The virtual world is becoming closely linked to the real world through emerging new technologies such as 5G, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Concerns have been raised regarding non-traditional security issues, given the major shift from traditional security issues such as food safety to new security issues in the fields of AI, big data and the metaverse.

These observations were made in the General Security Perception Report jointly released by the Internet Development Research Institution of Peking University and the 360 Security Group in Beijing.

Some 6,000 participants in a survey across the nation called for building a sense of "big security" to deal with new risks and challenges in the digital age, saying more should be done to raise the public's awareness of digital security.

Tian Li, director of the Internet Development Research Institution of Peking University, believes network and digital security are the underlying issues in the digital age.

Tian told a news conference the public's awareness of network and data security is still at an elementary level. While topics such as privacy, content and behavioral safety draw heated discussion, risks related to digital and data security have a lower profile.

The report said the public has safety concerns around changes brought by high-tech, especially in the fields of blockchain, virtual reality, digital environment, and apps.

The survey showed that 50 percent of respondents worry if their downloaded mobile apps are safe, and only 7.35 percent of the respondents believe they are using safe apps.

When it comes to the topic of the metaverse, Zhou Hongyi, founder of the 360 Security Group, said that will be e an advanced stage of digitalization, which may expose more security risks.

"It indicates that the upcoming 2022 will be the year of digital security, and we will also enter the era of 'big security'," Zhou said.

To better deal with rising risks in the digital era, 360 has unveiled a digital security capability framework to help solve industrial digital security problems and safeguard security for the metaverse sector.

The term metaverse was coined by US science fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash.

It was set in the near future where the virtual and the physical world are inextricably interconnected. The concept of a metaverse refers to a shared virtual world in which people can interact through various forms of digital technology, such as VR and augmented reality.

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